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Students give extra meals to battered women

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Students at Colorado State University-Pueblo had an opportunity to give back to the community recently. For many of them it was virtually free.

For several weeks, students with meal plans could donate one of their pre-paid meals or pay for an extra meal at Columbine Café.

Each time a student did this, Chartwells donated two pounds of fresh produce to the Young Women’s Christian Association of Pueblo, a local shelter for battered women and their children.

Rich Waters, the director of dining services, said he was looking for a non-profit organization in need of help. He said the end goal was to find a way to give back.

“As a company, Chartwells, division of Compass Group, understands the importance of using the resources we have to enhance community outreach in many different ways,” Waters said.

Waters said calls were made to the community. When the YWCA returned Chartwells’ call, the management team decided the YWCA’s needs fit well with what Chartwells had to offer.

Waters said his assistant director, Mike Lobato, worked with the YWCA and Ramon Garcia, the director of auxiliary services, to bring the program together.

“We truly did not know whether we would have 10 meals donated or 200,” Waters said.

The total donation to the Pueblo YWCA is 485 pounds of raw produce.

Brandi Morre, the executive director of the YWCA of Pueblo, said while that number is daunting, it is very exciting. The YWCA will use the food to feed its residents, she said.

Last month the shelter housed 71 people, while the capacity is only 30.

Moore said the nearly 500 pounds of food should feed 70 people for approximately two months.

“It goes without saying that the students are the reason why we will accept any level of success with this program,” Waters said. “They are the ones that decided to skip a meal or simply give one up for this effort. They deserve a lot of credit already.”

Waters said this campaign may happen again next year, though it’s not set in stone.